1. (noun) A wasteful or unnecessary project or activity, often one that is funded by the government or a large organization. It can also describe a situation where someone is getting paid for doing little or no work.


The chairman’s pet project to build a new corporate retreat was widely seen as a boondoggle, wasting millions of dollars on an unnecessary luxury facility.

Fun Fact

The term “boondoggle” has an interesting origin story. It was coined in the 1920s by scoutmaster Robert H. Link, who used it to describe the decorative lanyards and braided cords made by Boy Scouts. These crafts were seen as a waste of time and resources by some critics. The term gained wider use in the 1930s during the Great Depression, when it was applied to government projects that were viewed as wasteful or inefficient, particularly those associated with the New Deal programs. One famous example was the “boondoggle” of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which was criticized for employing people to perform seemingly pointless tasks like raking leaves or building roads to nowhere. Today, “boondoggle” remains a popular term for any project or activity that is seen as a waste of time, money, or resources.